There are many ways of defining conscious emotional evolution. One of them is that it’s a process of unconditionally loving every aspect of our selves. When our self-love is complete, we will have nothing left to transmute or transcend.

It follows therefore that self-love is not just an important tool for everyone who wants to evolve beyond the current version of themselves but an essential one: the process simply cannot be completed without it.

Self-love is perhaps the ultimate tool in our toolbox: the acetylene blowtorch lurking in a dark corner of our emotional workshop.

Self-love is perhaps the ultimate tool in our toolbox: the acetylene blowtorch lurking in a dark corner of our emotional workshop. Aim it at whatever damaged part of yourself you’re working on. Turn up the heat. Flip down the protective mask so love’s blinding flame doesn’t burn you. Whoomph.

No love

If you’ve mastered the ability to recognize, accept and release emotional blocks then this process will be familiar to you you.

But for many it isn’t. We live in a society that’s long regarded self-love as selfish and narcissistic. There are many people—particularly on the lower rungs of the emotional cohesion ladder—who are simply incapable of self-love.

Here self-love can turn into a dangerous weapon. The more we extort ourselves to self-love when we cannot do so, the more painful it becomes. That gas-axe cuts both ways.

It can make a fragile individual feel worse because of their inability to wield it. Instead of growing emotional coherence, they feel numbness and an inner wall when they try to access self-love. Sound familiar?

Focus on the block

What this means is that something is blocking you from feeling self-love. In this case, stop struggling with self-love and focus on the blockage instead. This block resides in your unconscious and wants to stay there. It doesn’t want you to know that it even exists—but it does, as you can feel its effects.

Carl Jung wrote that our task is “to become conscious of that which presses upwards from the unconscious.” This is how we put Jung’s perceptive phrase into action: by placing our awareness on that ‘thing’ that’s numb inside us, that place where part of our wounded self hides behind a wall of unconscious shame.

The more you focus on the block, completely sure of its existence, the sooner you’ll draw it out of your unconscious and into your consciousness. Make sure that your focus is entirely neutral and non-judgmental: just the pure and simple observation that the blockage exists, nothing more. It may feel like an iceberg looming out of the Arctic mist; what starts out as a vague and fleeting feeling grows into something much greater as it anchors in your consciousness.

Here you can deal with it using some of the other tools in this toolkit: breathing, acceptance, self-responsibility. And once you’ve dealt with it, that numbness you used to feel when you tried to love yourself dissipates.

But don’t expect miracles. Self-love is like a muscle, and a muscle needs exercise to work efficiently. If you’ve gone your whole life without loving yourself, it may take a while to get that emotional muscle working again. Initial attempts may be discouraging. But stick at it and the rewards will be yours.

Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash